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RE: Off-Topic: RE: A few things I noticed about w3c's xml-schema
- From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <email@example.com>
- To: "Betty L. Harvey" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 09:43:48 -0500
Yes. Yuri and I did a few rounds over HTML. Compared
to the extant work, it was pitiful. On the other hand,
compared to the extant work, it was accessible. Yuri
did understand the problems of complexity because he
had to explain it over and over again. He was not
even then completely sanguine about HTML's design
but he knew we had to start somewhere and work
together. He was also responsible for stopping some
forward thinking work because he must have felt it
competed with HTML. He said to me, "Yes, the design
is awkward, and not the right thing, but today for
the first time, SoftQuad is making money." And at
that point, SGML quit being about just ideas and causes,
and began to emphasise market. It was a healthy change.
This I have to disagree with:
"Most SGML proponents at the time were drug into the XML world
kicking and screaming the entire way"
No, they had to be convinced the self-selected group
knew what they were doing. That wasn't immediately
obvious and the HTMLer attitude of "We have all
we need already" didn't help. What Yuri did was
get those two groups to respect each other and
start to work toward common cause. That is leadership
and yes, that sets him apart in the history of
SGML. Bosak had to pick that mantle up and
he did a good job, but Yuri had to make us
turn and pay attention first. It was a noisy thing
but I am one who respects passion in those who
believe a thing. What was going on was natural.
Yuri was not the first of the founder's I met.
For me, the first was Pamela Gennusa. That was
extraordinarily lucky because she was regal,
classy, and able to convey SGML as a solution
to real pubs problems. We were building ETM
systems and SGML wasn't designed for that. She
could see the bridge. Next came Joan Smith
who in a series of letters insisted I go to
Goldfarb because I was up to my eyeballs in
hypertext and SGML was the last piece, but
for me, the critical piece because it gave
us a way to solve the problem of the infamous
"islands of automation" and it lead to
healthier trees (the real, oxygen exchanging
kind). I still have the letters from that
period because they conveyed to me the excitement
of the people. I was staring into Hytime
when I finally met Yuri. Charles had insisted
to me that Yuri was the guy to go to next with
the ideas. He said Yuri would instantly know
what to do with them. HTML wasn't on the
radar yet and almost everything we did then
was CALS-flavored by MIL-specs. We knew we
had to go to the network, but the one thing the
SGML community lacked was network expertise.
We were mostly pubs people with a few hypertext
weirdos tossed in for filler. Everyone
was told that TCP-IP was dead and the Internet
could not be secured. Most of the systems for DoD
markup hypertext had to be secured and all the
leading edge stuff had diagnostic system
requirements, so needed a lot more if-then
than HTML had in it when first shown.
Over time, requirements converged and Yuri certainly understood
the need for it. At the same time, he liked
to borrow lines, borrow ideas, and everyone understood
that what we did became community property quickly.
If anything was true of the people in SGML that
I met in those days, it was the incredible generosity
they demonstrated with their ideas. I think some
now would be very surprised if they read all the
stuff I sent to the dumpster last weekend, just
how forward the thinking actually was. It needed a
protocol and a network. That was the last piece
added to the puzzle. Then, it went back to the
beginning to refactor the base technology and
now we have XML.
No one goes it alone and gets much done. Yuri went
out and found the talent so no one would have to.
Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.
Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h
From: Betty L. Harvey [mailto:email@example.com]
I agree with what you say Len. However, in the world of XML Yuri stands
out. I had the privilege of going to the first WWW conference in North
America in Chicago in 1994. It changed my life - literally. I was a
civil servant for the Navy working in CALS at the time (Len you will
I met Yuri at this conference for the first time. He was chairing a
session called 'SGML on the Web'. At this conference he also announced
Panorama - a free SGML browser for the web. He had such an impact
on me that I gave up my safe government job with a great pension
and followed him into this crazy world of SGML/XML.
Yuri saw the benefit of HTML to the SGML world where other SGML leaders
did not. Most SGML proponents at the time were drug into the XML world
kicking and screaming the entire way. Not Yuri - he was leading the front
by providing free tools (open source wasn't off the ground at that point
in time) and evangelizing.
I for one feel that if Yuri was still around some cohesiveness and sanity
checks put into place with the proliferation of all the XML specifications
being thrust upon us.